André Leon Talley explains to ETI the significance of the Met Gala

The 2019 Met Gala is set for Monday, May 6, and as the world waits to see what the celebrity guests will be wearing on the red carpet, it’s worth refreshing your memory on all the pertinent details before the red carpet is rolled out. The Met Ball or Met Gala is the fashion world equivalent of the Oscars, an evening when designers, models, and Hollywood stars convene in the year’s most over-the-top looks. It’s a long-standing event that Vogue Contributing Editor André Leon Talley knows well. ALT (as he is known) has been a fixture at the fete since 1974, and so who better to turn to for a primer on the storied grand affair?

This year’s theme is “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” based on Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp,’” and designed to explore the best of exaggerated, fun, capital-F fashions. But first, a few essential talking points are in order: From the evening’s origins to the best Met Gala dress to date, ALT (Andre Leon Talley) sounds off here on everything you need to know ahead of fashion’s biggest night.

ETI: What is the Met Gala?

ALT: The Met Gala is the Super Bowl of fashion. On the first Monday in May, everyone who is anyone comes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the annual fundraising gala celebrating the Costume Institute’s magnificent new exhibition on a changing theme. It all started in 1946, and over the decades, it has become a grand affair—the party of the year. The one other constant is the red carpet fashion. There is nothing quite like it, and it is vital and exciting to be a part of that.

ETI: Who gets invited to the Met Gala?

ALT: The world’s best achievers in all the spheres of music, film, Broadway, and fashion, as well as simple supernova personalities. The list changes each year. My favorite guest was Diana Ross, also in a full-length dress of exotic feathers. Which bird was it, I am not sure: guinea hen, turkey, or some exotic bird. It was strapless and full-skirted.

ETI: What is the dress code for the Met Gala?

ALT: Dress codes vary. If you are Kanye West and Kim, you come in your own matching Balmain silver jacket and dress. If you are Beyoncé, you wear something that’s a big statement.

ETI: Who had the best Met Gala red carpet dress of all time?

ALT: Rihanna’s yellow Guo Pei cape edged in fur, with trainbearers, from 2015.

ETI: Do you have a favorite Met Gala memory from over the years?

ALT: My favorite memory is when Cher joined the gospel choir from a local church in Harlem one year when the Met was held in December. And also, I was there when she descended the escalator in her brilliant Bob Mackie sequin see-through jumpsuit, way ahead of her time, in 1974.

Celebrity Looks From the Met Gala 2018 Red Carpet:

ETI

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